It’s appointment viewing, folks…

… as Air New Zealand brings one of our boys back into the fold; Acumen Republic appoints a new head honcho; TVNZ says goodbye to Good Morning—and up to 12 fulltime staff; Thick as Thieves enlists a new award-winning director; Air Asia hits the runway running and announces a national marketing manager; another All Black endorses something; AJ Park gets a taste for internal promotions; and two films made by the Media Design School strike Hawaii gold.

Come fly with us

Air New Zealand has appointed Christopher Luxon, who has been president and chief executive of Unilever Canada since 2008, to the role of group general manager International Airline from 30 May. He will replace Ed Sims, who has been with the airline for ten years.

In Luxon’s role with Unilever, he was responsible for leading its $USD1.4 billion business and 1,500 employees in Canada, leading it on a major change programme that has resulted in record growth, increased value for shareholders and enhanced customer service.

In addition to his Canadian responsibilities, Luxon is a key member of the North American Leadership Team that directs Unilever’s $USD10 billion regional business and he also sits on Unilever’s Americas Regional Operations Leadership Team. Since January 2011 he has also been leading Unilever’s $USD 4billion Personal Care business in the United States and has also lead one of Unilever’s Asian Innovation Centres.

Luxon, a 40-year-old New Zealander who joined Unilever in 1993 after completing an M.Comm at the University of Canterbury, has vast international experience having worked in New Zealand, Australia, Asia, United Kingdom, United States and Canada in a range of local, regional and global assignments dealing with both developing and developed markets. Brands he has taken a senior leadership role in growing globally include Dove, Rexona and Lynx and he has been recognised with several awards for his brand work.

Air New Zealand’s International Airline carries approximately 1.6 million long haul passengers annually, has annual revenue of approximately $NZD1.8 billion and employs more than 3,000 staff. The International Airline is the most significant tourism business in New Zealand, carrying a third of all inbound visitors to New Zealand. Inbound visitors to New Zealand collectively generate foreign exchange earnings of $NZD9.5 billion a year.

Arkell’s Acumen

Acumen Republic, New Zealand’s largest PR agency, has announced the changing of the guard from current chief executive and principal Michael Dunlop to incoming chief Karyn Arkell.

Dunlop says the timing was right for fresh leadership of the company now the business has been transformed from an Auckland and Wellington communications and marketing agency to a Trans-Tasman agency operating from offices in Auckland, Wellington and Sydney.

“When I acquired the business (known as Consultus) sixteen years ago, the industry was already going through significant change,” Dunlop says. “What we’re seeing now is an era where we’re experiencing the increased ascendency of PR which in turn has led to a stronger and more diversified business operating in three geographies under the Acumen Republic brand. I’m handing over the reins to Karyn because she demonstrates the necessary business insights and market leadership that Acumen Republic needs to take this business forward. I will step back from management and concentrate on working with our clients.”

Arkell has been with the firm for over ten years and led the Auckland office in her current role of general manager. She has overseen many key initiatives across the company, greatly influenced the direction and the footprint of the brand in Australia, which was established in early 2010, and led a number of key client relationships.

“I really believe in this company, the people in it and what we can achieve together with our clients, in a market that throws us new challenges and opportunities every day… John Walsh, general manager Wellington, Myrna van Pelt, general manager Sydney and Mandy Hancock, chief financial officer, will continue as key members of my leadership team. Michael remains in the business, as executive chairman. In addition, we have over 40 staff organised into specialist teams across public affairs, public relations, events and activation, marketing, digital, design and events. I think this puts us in a unique position in the market, with an unrivalled depth of talent.”

So long Avalon

TVNZ is relocating its weekday mid-morning programme Good Morning to Auckland from the end of the year. And while TVNZ chief executive Rick Ellis said a new Auckland-based mid-morning programme would be launched in 2012 and that some Good Morning production staff may be relocated to Auckland at the end of the year, there could potentially be up to 12 full time equivalent positions made redundant and a number of contract positions affected as a result of the move.

“The Good Morning team have done an outstanding job out of Avalon. But the implementation of our new multi-million dollar digital infrastructure and play out facilities in our Auckland TVC mean we have the opportunity to better utilise staff, technology and studios and further grow the revenue and profitability of the show,” Ellis says. “We want to build the show from its current strong base to make it even more attractive to audiences and advertisers.”

Good Morning’s move to Auckland will also free up Avalon for other potential work. TVNZ was looking at options for utilising Avalon’s studios post December 2011, perhaps by third parties for film or overseas long format television dramas.

Avalon has four purpose built television studios and a high definition control room as well as extensive set design and build workshops, wardrobe, make-up and green rooms. There was also an extensive back lot available for production use. TVNZ was in early discussions with local and international interests and he said TVNZ would exit and sell Avalon after June 2013, when existing contracts with key customers come up for renewal.

“The utilisation of the studios by third parties could enhance our potential to sell Avalon in due course. The tower block and some land on the Avalon site were sold in 2003.”

The TVNZ Archive at Avalon will not be impacted by these changes. And whether or not there are further redundancies leading up to June 2013 will depend on the future use of Avalon.

“We’ll work this through with staff closer to the time. We’re telling staff now because we want to give people certainty and as much time as possible to make plans. The need for Avalon’s large studio facilities for local television production has steadily decreased over the years with the outsourcing of programme making and big budget studio based local shows being less profitable to commission.”

Zoe’s in space

Auckland-based production company Thick As Thieves has signed multiple award winning filmmaker Zoe McIntosh for commercial representation. Fresh from winning Best Documentary for Lost In Wonderland and Best Performance In A Short Film for Day Trip at the 2010 Qantas Film & TV Awards, as well as official selection at the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival in New York and many other awards, McIntosh now focuses her filmic talents on commercial content, with one of her recent dalliances for Monteith’s Single Source.

“Zoe is one of our screen industry’s most dynamic young directors,” says Thick As Thieves executive producer Nik Beachman. “Her creative talents across documentary and dramatic narrative content are rare, and demonstrate her signature talent. Zoe is exactly the kind of maverick filmmaker we always aspire to work with.”

For showreels and enquiries contact Nik Beachman [email protected] or +64 9 376 8006.

To Asia…and beyond

Low-cost airline AirAsia X, the long haul affiliate of its Malaysia-based parent Air Asia, has appointed Phil Boeyen as marketing manager New Zealand.

Boeyen has extensive experience in marketing and communications, including business and broadcast journalism. Before joining AirAsia X he managed the marketing and public relations for Virgin Blue’s New Zealand-based airline, Pacific Blue, for four years. He also spent five years as marketing services manager at Christchurch-based human resources software company PayGlobal.

“Phil has earned a reputation in New Zealand for his skills, knowledge and industry contacts and we are looking forward to the experience he will bring to the role,” AirAsia X head of commercial Darren Wright says. “AirAsia is excited to have expanded its operations into New Zealand and is committed to employing local talent to further contribute to the Christchurch community.”

Air Asia launched four weekly flights from Christchurch to Kuala Lumpur last Friday, 1 April and hopes to bring 70,000 travellers to the city every year. And it has promised to donate a percentage of each ticket to and from New Zealand over the next two months to raise $220,000 that will go towards the restoration of Christchurch’s heritage buildings like the Cathedral and Arts Centre.

Heat Seekers

Fujitsu has Fleming. Now Daikin has Dan. Heat pump specialist Daikin has joined the increasingly long list of brands employing the services of All Blacks to sell their wares and launched a new advertising campaign featuring the ever-marketable Dan Carter that goes live on 10 April.

‘Heat with intelligence’ is the tagline for the new campaign, which showcases Daikin’s Intelligent Eye technology, a heat pump that senses when you leave a room and automatically changes to a more energy efficient setting.

“Winter is fast approaching and we know that people will be looking for effective, economical and energy efficient heating solutions from Daikin,” says Dave Smith, Daikin national sales and marketing manager for Australia and New Zealand.

A walk in the AJ Park

A J Park has gone on a bit of a promotion binge and promoted four of its staffers.

Angela Wray has been promoted to senior associate at A J Park Law in Auckland. She is a trade mark lawyer who specialises in the protection, maintenance, exploitation and enforcement of trade marks and other related intellectual property rights, both in New Zealand and overseas.

Dan Winfield has been promoted to senior associate at A J Park Law in Wellington. He acts for clients on brand and marketing law related matters ranging from brand selection, protection and enforcement to advising on marketing campaigns.

Jeremy Sim has been promoted to senior associate with A J Park Patent Attorneys in Auckland. He specialises in patents and designs in the medical device, manufacturing, and the chemical and process engineering industries.

Jonas Holland has been promoted to senior associate at A J Park Law in Wellington. He is a commercial lawyer specialising in intellectual property and technology matters.


Honolulu gold

Two acclaimed short films from Media Design School have won double accolades at the 2011 Honolulu Film Awards, which recognises outstanding achievement in independent filmmaking globally.

Award-winning filmmaker and Media Design School 3D course leader James Cunningham won best director for Das Tub, while Time for Change was awarded the Gold Kahuna Award for Best Animation.

The school’s Advanced 3D students Rupert Ashton, Priyan Jayamaha, Jonathan Hagan, Andrew Junying Xu and Kirsten Dale Pretorius, worked on all the CGI graphics and visual effects for both Das Tub and Time for Change.

“I’m overwhelmed by this fantastic news, it really pays tribute to the achievements of our entire department,” says Cunningham. “Media Design School’s 3D courses are unique in that students actually have a chance to work with the best in the industry while they are still studying, building up their contacts and networking at the same time.”

3D tutor Leon Woud, who co-produced both films with Advanced 3D tutor Oliver Hilbert, says that the students’ level of maturity and technical prowess really helped raise the bar.

“I think when people are watching these films, they can forget that all this motion picture quality CGI is done by students. We were also working with some highly regarded NZ actors, which put that extra element of pressure on us to make sure the final product was as polished as possible. The students practically lived at the school while finishing these films and based on the results, I’d definitely say it was worth it. The stylistic rendering, composition and edit on both films really visually popped,” says Woud.

The double win are not the first accolades of the New Year for both films. Das Tub is also a finalist at the Aspen Shortsfest in Colorado and was a student finalist for the Visual Effects Society (VES) Awards in LA early this year. Time for Change was also a VES Awards finalist and has been selected to screen at the Athens International Film Festival in the US in late April.

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